For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. “You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire.
So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
During the season of Lent, we often reflect upon fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. However, today’s Gospel invites us to also seek out reconciliation. We live in a world that is often over-stimulating with stressors on our time, finances, emotions, and physical well-being. However, in the midst of the chaos our focus must shift to what is most important — our relationship with the Lord and our relationships with others.
We are invited to seek out right relationships with others. We are invited to find forgiveness and healing even when it is challenging and difficult. We are invited to find peace within, and to be peacemakers. We are invited to cleanse away our sins, make room in our hearts for reconciliation, and move forward preparing our minds, bodies, and souls to celebrate Easter and the Risen Lord. How can I seek out reconciliation and extend offerings of peace this Lenten season?
—Leigh M. Hartley works in higher education administration at the University of Chicago. Over the past 15 years she has volunteered with the Jesuits, initially with Charis Ministries more recently years through planning and organizing pilgrimages with Fr. Michael Sparough, S.J.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
—St. Francis of AssisiPlease share the Good Word with your friends!